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Cutting corners

Cutting corners
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First Published: Fri, Mar 07 2008. 12 53 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Mar 07 2008. 12 53 AM IST
The government’s plans to stop mandating environmental impact studies for approving the expansion of ports and airports would be a perfect illustration of the idiom, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
The thinking behind this proposal would only be the frequent—and well-deserved—criticism of the environment ministry for its inability to give timely clearances. Given their near-term preoccupation with arresting any slowing of the economy’s growth, policymakers would now like to remove any cause of delays in project work, regardless of the possibility of larger costs on habitats and the environment— those can conveniently be passed on to the future.
Not only is this trivialization of real ecological vulnerabilities, but it’s also myopic. With local communities and environmentalists getting stronger, the risk of unevaluated projects being stalled is higher. Far better to make clearances efficient.
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First Published: Fri, Mar 07 2008. 12 53 AM IST